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Celebrating Black History Month 2020

Nazlin Bhimani15 October 2020

The Library Services EDI Committee would like to highlight some content you may find interesting as we continue to celebrate Black History Month 2020 (BHM2020).

You may not be aware but UCL’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health have a newsletter which lists interesting online events, provides summaries on Black historical figures, highlights literature, and poetry and even shares recipes. The archive of the newsletter is available but you can subscribe to it to receive a copy in your mailbox.

Goldsmith’s Library, in conjunction with the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture, is putting together an online event entitled ‘Liberating & Decolonising Historical Minds’ for 29th October. It features some interesting speakers including the historian and librarian Dr Elizabeth Williams. Do sign up for it if you can take the time off to listen to what promises to be a relevant discussion for us.

At the IOE Library, the BAME Resources LibGuide has been updated for BLH2020 and includes relevant content for schools such as Black historian David Olusoga’s Black History We’re Not Taught in Schools and the Black Curriculum created by Lavinya Stennett who worked with over one thousand teachers in schools, as well as the IOE’s Teach First lecturers, to come up with the curriculum.

John Amaechi’s talk on ‘The Big Questions on Race’ at the online RIBA Inclusion by Design Festival took place as part of Inclusion Week (28th September to 2nd October 2020). Amaechi, a former NBA basketball player, is an organisational psychologist and best-selling author. He recently caused a stir with his short talks on BBC Bitesize answering difficult questions such as What is White Privilege? and explaining the difference between being Non-Racist and Anti-Racist. More recently he gave an interview on TimesRadio where he highlights the everyday racism he and members of the Black community experience.

The RIBA talk is an eye-opener and recommended to anyone who is interested in organisational cultures and change (register with RIBA). Amaechi focused on how to be an ally to Black and Brown staff and how to work on being anti-racist (it doesn’t come naturally). To demonstrate how unconscious biases are appropriated, he showed the audience a video of ‘‘The Doll Test’ experiment which was conducted in 1940 by a group of US psychologists. By the age of four, children have already decided that Black / Asian / mixed-race people are ‘not good’. It is therefore important for us to be vigilant of our unconscious biases – and stand by our values for simply intending to be anti-racist is not good enough. Anti-racists should communicate their values in the workplace making it clear that they will not tolerate racism or any form inequality whether it relates to homophobia, islamophobia, misogyny, sexism, disability, etc. Amaechi does not beat about the bush. On nepotism, he says, if people get promoted to jobs because of the people they know, that a sure sign that the organisation has a problem. Additionally, those that are tired about talking about race after a mere three months (since George Floyd’s death) are the problem. Change needs to happen now because Black and Brown people have waited centuries for change and asking them to wait longer is akin to letting them watch a group gorging themselves whilst they are kept hungry. This, he says, is the indignity of racism. Listen to Amaechi – the clarity of his arguments surpasses other speakers on racism.

Addendum: John Amaechi’s talk on LinkedIn is here – this one focuses on how to be an ally.

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris3 July 2020

UCL Library Committee

Library Committee met virtually on 25 June by Microsoft Teams. It was the probably the first time in the Committee’s long history that this distinguished body had not met physically in a committee room.

One of the items on the agenda was the termly Report from me as Pro-Vice Provost. The Report from the Pro-Vice-Provost  can be seen behind the link. I used the usual structure, reporting against the 6 KPIs of the current Library Strategy, but I fashioned the narrative to reflect the extraordinary events that we have all been experiencing.

The coronavirus crisis led to lockdown in UCL Library Services, with closure of library sites beginning on 17
March. With senior colleagues we quickly agreed a set of themes which would underpin our work:

1. Electronic-led resource provision to support research and education
2. Digitally-delivered teaching and skills support
3. Fully digital enquiry services, which require a proper enquiry management platform
4. Open Science as the model for the future
5. Optimization of learning spaces
6. Research collection strategy in a digital era

These values continue to underpin our work as we develop our service provision to embrace the principle of digital-first in both research and education. It is the move fully to embed digital delivery in our education offering which is exciting, supported by £1.38 million of new money to purchase e-textbooks and to upscale our work on ReadingLists@UCL.

I would like to use this opportunity further to underline the Library’s commitment to supporting colleagues in #BlackLivesMatter. I am, as many of you probably know, a Tudor historian who publishes on sixteenth-century England. I wish here to put on record my repugnance at the views on race expressed this week by another Tudor historian, Dr David Starkey. Starkey’s views are repugnant to me and are completely at variance with UCL’s position.

In Newsletter 12, published today, our colleague Amad Uddin has told us about his team’s experiences in re-opening the Student Centre. He says: ‘I feel proud that Library Services have been involved in the first pilot [in re-opening UCL spaces] as it’s crucial we get back to some sense of normality. We are pioneers, what we learn from this pilot, the good and bad, will help other buildings open in the near future as restrictions get eased.’

Stay well, stay safe and I hope we will all be able to meet again in UCL in the coming weeks.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

Supporting Black staff at UCL

Benjamin Meunier26 June 2020

In case you missed it in our daily comms, please find below some additional guidance and support so that we can all help further race equality at UCL.

Supporting Black staff at work

The UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team have produced guidance to line managers on supporting their Black staff. This is also a resource for colleagues, and we commend it for all Library Services staff to read and take action based on the guidance to create an environment which is more supportive of our Black staff and students. 

Managers Guidance – Supporting Black staff at Work

There are many societal issues currently that may be impacting upon Black staff and their sense of wellbeing.  These issues are not new, Black staff deal with them all the time, every day of their lives.  However, there are a number of issues that have brought the presence of racism to the fore in recent weeks. The guidance references the work of sociologist Robin DiAngelo in her book “White Fragility”. To find out more, you could view this video of a reading of the book by the author, hosted by Seattle Central Library in 2018.

It is important at this time to check in with Black staff, ask how they are doing and offer them support. Having conversations about racism is everyone’s responsibility.  For those who are unfamiliar with doing this, the guide may be of some help. This guide is only part of a range of resources and measures to support our Black staff at this time.  It is not presented as a solution in its own right.

Free mental health therapy available for Black people in the UK

Black Minds Matter UK has announced they are providing Black people in the UK with free therapy with Black mental health professionals. Details are available at https://www.blackmindsmatteruk.com/

Black Lives Matter: UCL Library Services updates

Benjamin Meunier11 June 2020

In case you missed it in our daily comms, please find below some information on race equality at UCL, with a message from Jennifer Brown as Chair of the Library’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee, as well as some highlights on work which has been underway in Library Services to decolonise our collections and support UCL’s investigations into the university’s role in the history of eugenics. You can also find some training resources recommended by UCL EDI and Library SMT colleagues, to complement the resources which Andy Pow shared via liblist last Friday.

 

Race Equality at UCL

In the Provost’s View earlier in the week, the Provost reflected on the appalling killing of George Floyd and acknowledged the devastating and distressing impact this continues to have on our Black staff and students. The Provost also accepted that the statement UCL made last week was not specific enough about the impact on Black students and staff and apologised for the stress and hurt caused to Black students and staff.

As mentioned by the Provost, we need to go beyond expressions of solidarity and look at what further practical steps we can take to address racism close to home. UCL has taken practical action on structural racism at UCL under the current Provost. UCL Library Services is part of this action, with one of our six Key Performance Areas in the Library Strategy dedicated to Staffing, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and we will share more about the Library’s work in this area. We fully agree with the Provost that more must be done and that we must accept responsibility for more rapid progress.

UCL is seeking to consult with Black staff and students via a town hall style meeting in the near future, in order to listen more, learn, and decide what additional action we should be taking as a university. If you would like to register your interest in receiving details of this event, you can do so using this online form.

 

A message from Jennifer Brown, Chair of the Library Services Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee

I have reflected deeply upon the brutal murder of George Floyd and being told that BME people are more prone to dying from the Coronavirus coupled with the fact that there was insufficient investigation as to why this is the case.

To say that the past few weeks have been distressing is an understatement. For many it has been an eye opener but for others it is a reality that they have had to live most if not all of their lives. I have been engaging in lots of discussions externally around what is occurring and what needs to happen.

As a woman of African Caribbean heritage I have faced the experiences, the frustration, the hurt plus more that many are now feeling more liberated to speak about.

As the chair of the Library Service Equality Diversity and Inclusion committee  I am committed to tackling any practices which cause BME people to face inequality. Not just within Library Services but throughout the UCL community which I have already been doing.  This might mean that at times some uncomfortable and frank discussions might need to be had but this is a way forward to tackling some of the inequalities being faced.

I would like to cultivate a culture of solution so if you have any suggestions that you would like to be considered confidentially please feel free to email me jennifer.brown@ucl.ac.uk or the Library DEOLOs (b.whiten@ucl.ac.uk and g.manzotti@ucl.ac.uk). Anonymised  suggestions will be discussed at forthcoming EDI meetings and shared with the Library SMT for further consideration and action as appropriate.

The change required is not about tokenism, we all need to work together to cultivate more positive experiences and meaningful outcomes.

#Blacklivesmatter

 

Decolonising collections

Back in November a meeting of staff interested and engaged in themes around “decolonising” collections considered the scope for activities in Library Services. Colleagues shared examples of work already being undertaken  at this forum. To take this forward a Liberating the Collections Steering Group will oversee strands of activity across Library Services, aligned to UCL Library Services Strategy, UCL’s Liberating the Curriculum initiative, UCL’s wider EDI activity and with reference to best practice in the library sector. A more detailed blog post will be published next week.

 

Inquiry into the history of eugenics

In March, shortly before lockdown, the Peer Review dedicated an edition to the outcomes of the Inquiry into the history of eugenics at UCL. The independent Chair of the Inquiry, Professor Iyiola Solanke, outlined why she agreed to lead the Inquiry for UCL and how it relates to social justice. Maria Kiladi shared an article on what our archives tell us about the history of eugenics at UCL.

Many colleagues from Library Services directly supported the Inquiry, particularly Katy Makin and Colin Penman from Special Collections. The Inquiry itself forms part of the wider work which UCL is doing to further race equality.

The Inquiry report and recommendations, as well as videos of the Town Hall meetings, are available on the Inquiry webpages.

 

EDI training available

UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) are working in partnership with colleagues  from the Race Equality Steering Group on a number of institutional actions. In the meantime, Fiona McClement (Head of EDI) would encourage people who are looking to take action on a personal level to sign up to one or more of these webinars:  https://pearnkandola.com/events/. Pearn Kandola tend to deliver really good, thoughtful  training and their new series of racism at work will be in the context of current times.

The EDI team does not believe there is a limit on numbers who can sign up but if you do have any problems, please let me know and EDI have offered to look to organise some sessions specifically for UCL.

eXperience eXchange 2020 – bookings now open

Angela Young21 April 2020

Join experience exchange logoour first ever online eXperience eXchange on Wednesday 20 May 2020, 10.00-11.30am.

eXperience eXchange – what happens?

Library staff come together to share ideas and good practice about library skills training and liaison activities through short presentations or other activities. For the first time this year the eXperience eXchange will be taking place completely online, with no limit to the number of library staff who may attend.

How will it work?

As usual we invite colleagues from across Library Services to give short presentations (5-7 mins) to exchange their experiences, ideas or feedback from events relating to library skills training and liaison activities. The event will be delivered using Blackboard Collaborate. If you have not presented using Blackboard Collaborate before, this is the perfect opportunity to try it out with peers as your friendly and supportive audience.

If you’d rather not present, you can attend as an attendee only.

Is there a theme?

This year we invite contributions relating to any aspect of library skills training and liaison activities, but we particularly welcome contributions relating to the online or remote delivery of these services. Ideas for presentations include:

  • Something new you have tried to implement, or that you would like to try out in an online environment.
  • A report back from a training event or conference you have attended.
  • A review of an interesting article you have read.
  • How you have been working to develop your own teaching or liaison skills.
  • Using new technologies in training or liaison.

How do I join the event?

Full joining instructions will be provided. You will need:

  • A computer / mobile device with Internet access and sound (speakers or headphones).
  • If presenting you will also need a microphone (internal laptop / mobile device microphone or headset microphones are sufficient).

How do I sign up?

Simply complete the registration form and we will send you full joining instructions.

Tackling Bullying & Harassment and fostering a positive workplace

Benjamin Meunier15 January 2020

Following from the first “Where Do You Draw the Line?” training session last October, the Library SMT welcomed Kelsey Paske (Preventing Sexual Misconduct Manager) at its November meeting. Kelsey briefed SMT on the Report+ Support tool which UCL launched in March 2019 to help members of the UCL community to report instances of bullying or harassment, and to provide guidance on how to deal with this. This was a helpful presentation from the UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, which set the context for a wider discussion and for the Library SMT to endorse four recommendations described below.

One of the key points made by Kelsey was that practice needs to be embedded in order to ensure change. This theme was also discussed at the Staff Survey Action Group, where colleagues stressed the importance of ensuring that all staff are aware of how UCL defines bullying and harassment, that it has no place at UCL and how everyone in the institution has a part to play in tackling bullying and harassment. Training and communication are being rolled out, you may see information on the intranet and on screens within library sites. It is worth reiterating that this work will not end with the training or communications campaign, and will continue until it is part of the UCL culture, so that each of us is able to recognise where unacceptable behaviour happens and knows how to challenge it.

One Library manager who attended the “Where Do You Draw the Line?” session suggested that focusing on a positive organisational culture is another way to help address issues such as bullying and harassment. At the University of British Columbia, an Exceptional Workplace Committee worked on initiatives to build a positive organisational culture on an ongoing basis, including working with an organisational change consultant in facilitating sessions with library staff about core values and behaviours. Exceptional workplace continues to be a part of the Library’s strategy: https://about.library.ubc.ca/workplace/. This type of approach may help Library Services to progress work on creating a positive culture, including tackling bullying & harassment, in a sustainable way for the long-term.

Fiona Ryland, UCL’s Chief Operating Officer, has set out the One PS vision for UCL:

“To make UCL a great place to work and study, where what I do enables our people to do amazing things, every day.”

In line with that aspiration to make UCL a great place to work and study, the Library SMT agreed a number of actions which are being progressed thanks to the Library HR Team:

  1. All Library SMT members will complete “Taking the lead” training, a bullying and harassment prevention workshop designed for senior leaders in UCL
  2. All Library Services staff will complete “Where Do You Draw the line?” training. Sessions will be scheduled and advertised in the coming months.
  3. Library Services will explore opportunities for improving staff engagement and fostering a positive work culture with consultant Wayne Clarke (Founding Partner, The Global Growth Institute, who has been commissioned by Fiona Ryland on the theme of making UCL “a great place to work”)
  4. The Library SMT HR Working Group will look into how the different initiatives to make UCL Library Services a great place to work are brought together with appropriate oversight

The minutes of the SMT meeting are available on LibNet, where you can also find the minutes of the Staff Survey Action Group meetings. Further information will be disseminated in due course to advertise the training sessions referenced above and we will share further progress updates as we make progress on this important work to eradicate bullying and harassment from UCL.

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris11 December 2019

Library Services staff shine at UCL Professional Service Awards 2019

The UCL Professional Services December Awards took place on Tuesday 10th December at Elvin Hall in the UCL Institute of Education. Fiona Ryland, Chief Operating Officer, presented the awards at a well-attended ceremony complete with mince pies and prosecco as well as the UCL Jazz Society.

In her introductory remarks, the COO stressed that the One PS vision is for all colleagues in professional services to feel part of one community across UCL (including staff based in central Professional Services Divisions, Vice-Provosts’ Offices, Faculties and departments). As the quality of the nominated entries showed, UCL has some outstanding people working for the university. The key focus for improvement is not the people but the systems, policies and environment within which we operate.  Fiona also highlighted the Improvement Board as an example of how UCL is gathering input from all staff to identify key issues and make a difference to how things are done at UCL.

The awards were based on the UCL Ways of Working, with 7 awards presented on the day. Library Services staff were well-represented in the shortlisted entries. Out of over 170 entries from across all UCL Professional Services, there were 40 shortlisted nominations and 4 of these recognised exceptional work by Library Services staff. And as the winners were announced, it was a source of great pride that not one but two members of Library Services staff won awards!

Personal Excellence Award winner: Breege Whiten (joint winner with Caitlin Broadbent in Brain Sciences).

This award recognises a person who demonstrates integrity, outstanding service and commitment to UCL.

Breege is a librarian, who also volunteers for a number of key roles within Library Services, such as Departmental Equal Opportunity Liaison Officer (DEOLO), and Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Champion, on top of the day-to-day management of her library team.  She takes all of her roles very seriously, and actively lobbies to make Library Services fairer, more inclusive, more communicative and more reflective. She has also led on a number of the customer service initiatives, which helped in Library Services’ recent, successful application for CSE accreditation.

Community Spirit Award winner: Noel Caliste. This award recognises an individual who demonstrates an example of doing amazing things beyond the boundaries of UCL and makes a personal impact in the broader community.

Noel has organised the logistics, planning and operations of UCL’s attendance at London and Black Pride during July 2019. This attendance was the largest and most visible representation UCL has ever undertaken at both LGBTQ+ Pride events. Without this enormous effort to produce new and inclusive publicity materials (e.g. BAME LGBTQ+ staff specifically represented in logos), essential refreshments and hospitality, create important health and safety overviews and overseeing responsibility for a group of 60 staff, students and supporters on the day itself, UCL would not have been represented at this event.

As a volunteer, leading UCL’s largest and most active equality Staff Network, his efforts in this event planning, management and delivery have been included in UCL’s entry to the national benchmarking tool of LGBTQ+ employers (the Stonewall Employers Index). This voluntary work has been undertaken around his full-time role and its value stands UCL on a greater footing in LGBTQ+ equality awards and in being increasingly acknowledged as a fully inclusive employer.

I personally have conveyed my congratulations to all successful colleagues and I do so again. Special congratulations to Breege and Noel for their work which has been recognised through these awards.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

UCL 2034 Progress Report

Benjamin Meunier4 December 2019

UCL has published the Progress Report 2019, highlighting some of UCL’s key achievements and steps towards realising the vision set out in UCL 2034. Highlights in this year’s report start with a Library Services initiative, the UCL Open megajournal as an example of academic leadership. You can see the review on the 2034 website at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/2034/progress-report-2019

Here’s a summary:

Principal Themes 

  1. Academic Leadership
    UCL Open’s Megajournal – The Constitution Unit’s role in a think-tank for Northern Ireland – Forming closer ties with the European Space Agency
  2. Integration of Research and Education
    Posters in Parliament – UCL’s 1000th Arena Fellow – the Bloomsbury Theatre and Performance Lab
  3. Addressing Global Challenges
    Antiretroviral treatment preventing the transmission of HIV – Developing a legal tool to protect refugees’ rights – Helping an indigenous community restore parts of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
  4. Accessible and Publicly Engaged
    Public art at UCL – Growing community-university partnerships in East London – Building robots inspired by nature
  5. London’s Global University
    Working with Camden to drive innovation and social change – planning approval granted for new UK Dementia Institute – “Cosmic Coffee”
  6. Delivering Global Impact
    The RELIEF centre working to better integrate the forcibly displaced – Tackling chronic pain in children – Biogas project awarded Horizon 2020 funding

    Key Enablers

    1. Best Student Support – the Accommodation team’s Welcome programme
    2. Valuing our Staff – Welcome to UCL programme for onboarding new staff
    3. Financing our ambitions – an update from the It’s All Academic campaign
    4. Excellent systems – new UCL Staff Intranet
    5. Sustainable estate – Transforming the IOE
    6. Communicating and engaging – the #MadeatUCL campaign

Staff Office Audit & Improvements

Jay Woodhouse4 December 2019

The Facilities and Project Team are undertaking an audit of the furniture and condition of all staff offices, as highlighted by the Liblist e-mail sent out on Thursday 28th November.

The aim of the audit is to create a baseline of staff office condition to aid with improvements. There is a rolling programme to bring all staff offices up to an acceptable standard for  condition of the room and quality of the furniture, to match those provided within Professional Services.

To this end ten offices in the Main Library have been redecorated and new carpets laid. Starting over the Christmas period six offices in the Science Library will receive similar treatment. The programme will then move on to another Library, to be decided.

“I Heart Consent” campaign launches today

Benjamin Meunier27 November 2019

Student Support and Wellbeing and Students’ Union UCL are together launching the ‘I ❤ Consent’ campaign today (27 November).

The campaign encourages students to take a brief sexual consent online training course on Moodle – no longer than 15 minutes to complete. The aim of the training is to help promote healthy and respectful relationships within the UCL community and beyond.

The campaign will be promoted to students via digital screens and messages in myUCL and local communications?

Once students have completed the training, they will receive a ‘I ❤ Consent’ badge on Moodle.

If students come along to the Student Centre Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 November (this week) and show us their badge, they will be able to collect a reusable ‘I ❤ Consent’ cup and a free hot drinks voucher!

The training does cover some difficult topics, so if a student needs support around this, please direct them to the Report + Support website, which has much more information.